I recently told you about the wonders of the Google Home Max speaker. If you are a music enthusiast and can use the extra help around the house, it is a must-have. But, what if you want even more help? That is the Google Home Hub. I was blessed to check one out thanks to my friends at Lowe’s Home Improvement.
The Google Home Hub is a Google Home on steroids… with a screen. It is very similar to having a mounted tablet on your kitchen counter that you can talk to. In turn it responds and helps you out around the house.
The Google Home Hub is a petite unit. At only 7” wide and less than 3” deep it will not take up much space on your counter or nightstand at all. However, this little baby packs a lot of functionality.
I decided that it will live in my kitchen. This way I can ask Google to show me recipes, play music, set timers, or even start the oven while cooking. I have to say that I find it a lot more useful than the Google units with no screen.
What is the Google Home Hub?
By now you have heard of the Google Home. It’s a voice assistant that allows you to give commands and ask questions to accomplish a number of things around the house and on the go. The Google Home Hub takes that voice assistant and makes it even more powerful with a screen. Now, not only can you get verbal alerts, but visual ones as well.
This means that you can watch YouTube videos, see Google Map directions, read recipes, browse the news, view all of your smart home devices, and more.
What Can I Do With the Google Home Hub?
Control Your Smart Home & Security
The Google Home Hub allows you to control every aspect of your smart home. Google Home interfaces with hundreds of popular smart home products from light bulbs to outlets to televisions.
You already know that I love talking to my house. I can stand in the kitchen and simply say, “Hey Google, tell Whirlpool to preheat the oven” and it works! “Whirlpool” even has her own voice on the Google Home!
Most of this can be accomplished with any of the Google Home devices. And of course, talking is very cool and useful, especially when my hands are full. However, that functionality doubles when there is a screen. I absolutely love that the Google Home Hub allows me to see all of my smart home devices on one screen. From here, I can turn off lights, adjust the thermostat, or even view security cameras (with compatible devices).
I currently have 4 different brands of cameras around my home, thanks to getting different ones for review over the years. And, I’m sad to say that so far, I have not been able to get any of them to work with my Google Home Hub. It’s supposed to be as simple as linking my account. However, some of them have the limitation of being displayed only on a Google Chromecast device. I will have to do more reading and play with that a bit more to get them working. I may just have to update my cameras if I want to view them from my Google Home Hub.
Power Your Entertainment
One reason why I really, really love Google Home devices versus that other popular voice assistant is the seamless integration with my existing music devices. As mentioned before, I have several Google Chromecast enabled devices. And even though the Google Home Hub is a screened device, it still includes an awesome speaker that is mounted on the back. It can be added to my speaker groups for whole house audio.
From my Google Home Hub I can cast music to that unit only, the whole house, the upstairs, the master bedroom, or downstairs.
And since the Google Home Hub has a screen, if I can’t quite remember the name of the Pandora station that I want to listen to, I can say, “Hey Google, show me my Pandora stations.” I can then browse through and click on the one that I want.
Depending on your TV model, you can also control your media. You can use the Google Home Hub to play Netflix, Hulu, and more.
Get Ready for Your Day
The Google Home Hub makes an awesome “alarm clock”. In addition to showing a slideshow of your Google Photos, or art, the Ambient Mode settings allow you to display a clock. And it’s smart enough to switch to night mode when the lights go off, so that the glow of the screen does not disturb your sleep.
You can also say, “Hey Google, set an alarm for 6am”. You can choose to have an alarm noise, or music, or other soothing sounds. You can also set a morning routine that tells you the weather, displays traffic to work, shows your schedule, and plays the news after your alarm sounds.
A “Time for Bed” routine might arm the home alarm, lock the doors, make sure that all of the lights are off, play soothing white noise, and adjust the thermostat.
What is Digital Wellbeing?
I was very happy when I saw that the Google Home Hub includes Digital Wellbeing. Devices are not always set up to take such things into account. Digital Wellbeing allows you to focus on what matters most by filtering content, and setting time limits. You can also customize the music, video, and features that are available on the device.
This is perfect for a device that is in a public area of the home, or in your kid’s room. Parental controls can filter out mature content, or even block all video. You can also allow only YouTube Kids.
Personalized User Content
Like the Google Home Max, and other Google Home Assistants, you can enable Voice Match on the Google Home Hub. This allows you to get personalized results when you ask Google questions. And, since the Google Home Hub has a screen, you can actually see results displayed on the screen visually in addition to verbal feedback. And since it’s smart enough to work with multiple users, each family member can use it and Google is smart enough to recognize who is speaking.
Features I Would Love to See
I am loving absolutely everything about my Google Home Hub. There are only 3 things that I would change…
Better Streaming Music Management
One thing I would love to see, and this may not be a Google thing specifically, but… quite often I am listening to music in my master bedroom on Pandora. I then decide to go down to the kitchen. If I then tell Google to play Pandora in the kitchen it starts the station over, which changes the song that I am currently listening to. I would love the ability to just “send” the music down to the kitchen without missing a beat by clicking a few buttons on the screen. Google and Pandora, please get together and make that happen. 🙂
The Addition of a Camera
I would also love to see Google create a unit that has a camera like some of the other popular voice assistants with screens. This allows easy calls to Google Duo, or even from one unit to another. It could even double as a security camera.
A Drop-in or Intercom Feature
I was a bit surprised when I found out that Google Home units do not have a drop-in or intercom feature like its popular counterpart. This is a very useful feature. What the Google Home does have is Broadcast. This is useful for sending the same message all over the house, but not useful if you want to call up to your kid’s room and get a response. To send a broadcast simply say, “Hey Google, broadcast ‘dinner is ready’”. Google will then play your recorded message to all Google units in the house.
I really hope that they update it with 2-way communications soon. Other than that, everything is great!
The Google Home Hub is available from Lowes for only $129 through 12/24. Grab yours today. It makes a great gift for just about anyone. It is useful for controlling a smart home, listening to music, and can be extremely useful for the elderly or those with limited mobility.
Stay tuned for more info about what exactly I have in my smart home, and how we use it.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lowes. All opinions are my own.
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